Canton pulls out all the stops for summer celebration

NEWS LEADER FILE PHOTO BY CHARLIE WARNER The annual Canton Day Off bean bag tourney always draws a large crowd. This year’s tournament will be held Saturday, Aug. 17, at 11 a.m.

NEWS LEADER FILE PHOTO BY CHARLIE WARNER The Canton Town Hall will be filled with bingo players on Friday, Aug. 16, during the first evening of the Canton Day Off celebration.
Charlie Warner

Once every five years the sleepy little town of Canton goes all out to put on a monumental community celebration. Following in the tradition that was started nearly a century ago, Canton observes Canton Day Off every year during the third weekend of August. But four of the five years, the event is much tamer than the one that rolls around once every five years. And this is the year of “The Big One.”

The Canton Day Off committee, now known as the Canton Community Association, has been working hard to orchestrate one doozy of a small town festival. With events scheduled Friday, Saturday and Sunday, this year’s celebration will have something for everyone to partake in and enjoy.

Friday, Aug. 16

The event begins with the Boomer Backyard Barbecue Contest check-in at 5 p.m. Canton’s barbecue contest has become one of the more popular ones in the tri-state area, attracting a dozen or more top-notch culinary teams.

The Canton Firemen’s beer garden also opens for business at 5 p.m. The medallion hunt will get underway at 6 with clues made available at that time. The three-day bucket raffle tickets will go on sale at 6 at the fest tent, with the drawing Sunday evening.

The Canton Community Association’s bingo will begin at 7 at Canton Town Hall and the Bruce Bearinger Band will be performing for a street dance at the fest tent from 8 to midnight.

Saturday, Aug. 17

A community breakfast will be held from 7 to 11 a.m., organized by First Southeast Bank, at Canton Town Hall. The three-day bucket raffle ticket sales will continue.

The 5K benefit run/walk for Rett Syndrome will get underway at 9, with registration at 8:30 at the fest tent. A tractor ride will begin at 9. For more info, contract Marc Prestby at 507-272-8495. The Bloody Mary Contest will begin at 10 in the fest tent with judging to follow and then sampling of all the entries.

A bean bag tournament will get underway at 11, with registration at 10. The firemen’s beer garden will open for business at noon. The grand parade will begin at 1 p.m.

With this being the 140th anniversary of the founding of Canton, the Canton Area Historical Society will be holding a number of events at the Historic Canton Railroad Depot, which has been named to the National Registry of Historic Places. Local author Kelly Masters will hold a book signing following the parade. The 1979 Canton Centennial History Book will be on sale, with the new insert of updated material about the railroad depot. Artisan Lori Feltis will be creating Bohemian rag rugs on a loom at the depot and art by Dustin Brossard will be on display. Local photographer Megan Warner will have her 2020 Canton calendars on sale and local copper artist Duane Seward will be displaying and selling his most recent pieces of art.

Tours of the historic depot will be available and a flea market will be set up on Saturday near the depot. “Let’s Light Up Canton” luminaries will be sold at the depot.

Tours of the Mitson Museum will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The Canton High School all-school reunion will be held from 2 to 4 at the Canton Town Hall.

A pictorial cancellation observing Canton’s 140th birthday has been organized by the Canton Post Office. The event will be held from 3 to 5 at the town hall.

There will be plenty of activities for the kids. Kids games and the Hanson Bouncy House will be available near the fest tent from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tappy’s Face Painting and Balloons by Kevin will be held from 3 to 6.

The winners of the barbecue contest will be announced at 3.

A street dance, featuring a seven-piece band from the Twin Cities, “Shirts & Skins,” will take place at the fest tent from 8 to midnight.

Sunday, Aug. 18

The three-day bucket raffle ticket sales will continue. 

An ecumenical church service will be held at the fest tent, beginning at 9:30. The Assumption Catholic Church meatball/salad bar dinner will be held at the Assumption Hall from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The firemen’s beer garden opens at noon.

A poker run will also begin at noon beginning at ZZ Tap.

Kids games will be held from 1 to 6. Magic of Mike Prestby will be held at the fest tent beginning at 1:30. The annual youth talent show, sponsored by the Canton Area Historical Society, will be held at 3 p.m. at the fest tent. For more info contact LeRoy Haynes at 507-743-8338. Kids’ bingo will be held in the fest tent following the talent show.

DJ State Line will be providing music at the fest tent, beginning at 5 and the Crappy Beer Hour will be held in the beer tent from 5 to 6. The bucket raffle drawing will take place at 7, with a gigantic fireworks display at dusk.

Canton Day Off T-shirts will be on sale throughout the weekend, as well as commemorative buttons. Camping will be available for $10 a night, with no hookups or water. Contact Cindy Shanks at 507-743-8435.

For more information, log onto the Canton Day Off website.